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Reports: Cox Media Group websites hacked in ransomware attack

Reports: Cox Media Group websites hacked in ransomware attack

Cox Media Group, which owns television and radio stations in 20 media markets around the U.S., was the victim of a ransomware attack Thursday, according to several reports.

TV and radio streams for stations across the country were taken offline Thursday, according to trade publication Inside RadioTV news gossip site FTVLive and computer security site The Record

Reportedly, a number of the sites were back up and running as of Friday, but a check of several websites of the company radio stations Friday morning revealed streams that were not working.

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Media spokespeople for Cox Media Group did not immediately respond to questions from The Hill about the issue.

Cox employees were told to turn off station computers or laptops immediately and not to access their Cox email accounts, FTV Live reported, and they were told to delete tweets about the outages.

A tweet about the outage from Brent Martineau the sports director of Jacksonville stations CBS47/FOX30, captured by The Record, could not be found on Martineau’s Twitter feed Friday morning. 

“No stream today,” Martineau posted, according to The Record. “Apologies. Gotta listen on ESPN690 today and we hope to have a podcast but not sure yet. Hoping it’s just a one day thing. @ActionSportsJax on @ESPN690Jax.”

Several organizations across the U.S. have been targeted by ransomware attacks this year. 

On Wednesday, a ransomware attack struck the largest ferry service operator to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket affecting some of its operations.

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On Memorial Day weekend a cyberattack forced meat producer JBS to shut down production in all its beef plants in the U.S.

In early May, a cyberattack reportedly from the hacking group DarkSide temporarily shut down one of the largest gas pipelines in the U.S.

In response to the large number of attacks, The Justice Department this week said it will start giving ransomware investigations the same priority as terrorist attacks.